Global cancer expert, Tracey Connor, in Africa, Speaks on early prevention of the 'killer diseas


'Cancer' the six letter word or better still killer disease is globally rated as one of the most deadly killer on earth as it respects or regard no one, be you billionaire or pauper on street

Many Africans in search of the best treatment often fly out to the western world like America or Europe for the best of best treatment, but with the birth of a world class centre called Lakeshore in Lagos, the number of people heading abroad is bound to reduce, a survey has shown. In order to reduce the rate of the deadly spread of cancer in Nigeria and Africa in general, Lakeshore Medical Center brought into the country a world class cancer expert to speak on ways the deadly diseases can be curtailed. That figure is Dr. Tracey O’Connor of Roswell Park Cancer Institute who is also an Associate Professor at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo. A cancer expert in breast cancer with special interests in Novel treatments for breast cancer; psychological impact of breast cancer, supportive care therapies for patients with advanced disease and survivorship issues and breast cancer.

When Dr. O'Connor met with Mike Osagie at lakeshore last week, she was quick to stressed that cancer does not equate to death sentence, it can be prevented if detected earl. Here are some on the issues she spoke talked about. What Can You Tell us Cancer is ? Group of diseases characterized by loss of control of the multiplication of cells resulting in the development of enlarging clumps of cells (tumors). Causes of Cancer A: Many things can cause cancer from sporadic mutations in genes, hereditary factors, environmental agents, physical factors e.g. radiation and other chemicals compounds e.g. asbestos Of the magnitude of Cancer figures in Nigeria A: It is fast on the rise, and today we have about 102,079 new cancer cases per year, 71,571 cancer deaths annually and probably a mark under-estimation. It is most pathetic that Cancer registration in Nigeria is markedly incomplete and the risk of getting cancer before age 75 is high. The most common cancer in women is Breast cancer, Cervical cancer and Colorectal cancer. While in children are Burkitt’s Lymphoma, Leukemia Retinoblastoma and Wilms tumor. In Men, the most common type of cancer are Prostate cancer, Liver cancer and Colorectal.

Dr. Tracey O’Connor of Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Why is Cancer a quick killer in Nigeria? A: It is quick killer in Nigeria because of Africans attitude to lateness. Late presentation!!! There are very few screening centers before now and there is no center completely focused on cancer treatment. This is precisely why Lakeshore Cancer Center was established. Major step towards a cost-effective alternative to travelling abroad In truth cancer does not mean death. About 30% of all cancers are preventable. It can be prevented by total stop of tobacco, alcohol, dietary factors, physical Inactivity. It is vital to at least exercise two times a week. Issues of Overweight & Obesity can be controlled by regular eating of fresh fruits and fish and less consumption of red meat. Please tell us about some of the deadly cancer around? A: We have quite a number of few deadly cancers like Cervical Cancer.... Worldwide. 273,000 Cervical Cancer deaths per year 9% of female Cancer deaths Mortality rates vary 17-fold b/w diff regions mainly due to screening (Pap smear) main cause is HPV. Then we have Prostate Cancer – Commonest cancer in males in Nigeria. Can be detected early PSA test Rectal exam. Annual screening from 40 years.

Then again, another deadly cancer is breast cancer commonest female cancer in Nigeria. Can be detected even before a lump is evident. Mammography from 40 years of age (consider 35 years). Clinical breast exam and self breast exam is very vital, and we are open to help all Nigerians from all walks of life have a text on the state of their health. There is also the Colon Cancer. Which is increasing incidence in our society of late. Often common amongst those 50 and older. Precancerous growths (polyps) can be detected and removed early. On likely Cancer treatment: A: To a large extent, treatment depends on stage (extent) of the cancer, the way forward includes, Surgery ,Chemotherapy Radiation Therapy, Hormonal Therapy and Molecular Therapy.

Community Health Education can also help play a huge role to eliminate the disease. Public Awareness is a must. For example what cancer is? How do we eliminate cultural barriers to care? Lifestyle modifications screening and early detection. These are information the public has to be aware of.

Dr Nwogu was quick to warn that cancer does not equate death sentence and that many who are diagnosed for cancer early still went on to survive it and they made a passionate appeal to Nigerians and African's in general to stop seeing cancer as another meaning for near death. Meanwhile, the lakeshore was last weekend officially opened to the public amidst pomp and pageantry. An affiliate of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, USA – the oldest cancer center in the world. The centre boasts of Excellent Oncology Team, In-house Oncologists and support staff and an ultra- modern US-based Sub-specialty Oncologists for 2nd opinions and tele-consultations.

Lakeshore Cancer Center is a Multiphase Cancer Management Plan edifice which in the first place is a 1st Phase is an Outpatient Clinic for Screening – Mammography & CT imaging, Chemotherapy, Palliative Care, Counseling and Minor surgery with a primary mission to provide compassionate cancer prevention, treatment and education.

Special Health report courtesy of our editor Chief Mike Cerutti. You can reach him at YoungChief@yahoo.com.

Dr O'Connor and Mike Osagie


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